Oct 7, 2007

My Day With the Hoff and The Stones (And I Don't Mean David and The Rolling Variety)

Last Thursday night I attended the first Folk Art night at Candy's Apartment. Presented by Dead Letter Chorus it was a good night of local music, with good tunes being played in between (they played Wolf Parade, a great sign if there ever was one). If I can digress for a moment, why does every pub, night club, public space seem to have as its background music a combination of techno, house, dance music or extremely lame r 'n' b. When did bad music become the soundtrack to our lives? I don't expect to hear Sunset Rubdown when I walk into a pub, but what is wrong with a song? How about a Beatles song or a Spoon tune? At least something decent. Something people can sing along to, you know, the power of song. Anyway back to Thursday night. The definite highlight of the night was a young band from the Blue Mountains, Painted Stones. Playing as a four piece, they revealed a great combination of acoustic and electric guitars, touching on various points of folk, pop and country. I really enjoyed the melodies they were able to produce and lyrically they were very strong too.

Well yesterday I somehow saw them for the second time in two days. I went along to the Hope Street Markets in Surry Hills, a place where young designers show off their wares. They also had live music upstairs, where I caught Painted Stones. This time they delivered a two man acoustic set and they impressed again. They started with The Mountain Goats' "Game Shows Touch Our Lives", a gutsy attempt which they managed to pull off. Despite a pretty rude and loud crowd (the bane of all music lovers) their set was full of delight and heart. This young band shows a real flair for writing songs and If you can, I would suggest seeing them live if they come your way soon. You can check out tour dates and some recorded demos at their MySpace.

Earlier yesterday afternoon I attended an event at the Sydney Theatre Company. This week their latest production Riflemind opens for a two month run. Written by Andrew Upton and starring Hugo Weaving, it is directed by the great Philip Seymour Hoffman. Yesterday I saw a screening of the Betrand Tavernier film 'Round Midnight. It tells the story of a Tenor Sax player who leaves New York to play Jazz in Paris, where he finds acceptance whilst still trying to battle his demons of alcohol and drugs. The film was very languid and atmospheric, but I found it lacked any dramatic edge. Plus Jazz music leaves me cold, it always seems to me about the notes played rather the song created. Anyway following the film Messrs Hoffman and Upton were involved in a panel discussion where they talked about the themes of the film and how they related to the play Riflemind. Themes of addictions in life, to music and other substances and the inability to let go of the past. If somehow you ever get the opportunity to hear Philip Seymour Hoffman speak, don't hesitate, just do it. The man has a voice like dripping honey, he thinks very carefully about everything he says and then he profoundly elaborates on his ideas. Honestly I could have listened to him speak forever. I really look forward to seeing Riflemind, just one wish, Mr Hoffman could you make a guest appearance?


  • At October 07, 2007 , Anonymous jon harris said...

    After high expectations , I saw Riflemind last night. Andrew Uptons dialogue is perppered with so many profanities, it completely ruined the play. Honestly, I don't know how you could get so many 'f' words and 'c' words into a 2 hour play. My advice would be to give it a miss unless you are a wharfie and find foul language uplifting.



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